Tag Archive | Seasons

Sinhalese New Year by Devika Fernando

From Christina: When Devika commented on a post I wrote about “spring cleaning”, she mentioned the traditions surrounding the Sinhalese New Year, known as aluth avurudda in Sinhalese. I was intrigued, and I quickly invited Devika to share a few thoughts. 

 

Sinhalese New Year

by  Devika Fernando

In Sri Lanka, we don’t experience the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. There is the never-ending cycle of dry seasons and rainy seasons which influences flora, fauna and agriculture. So, instead of the spring cleaning the West goes through every year, we have an annual cleaning session when the Buddhist and Hindu New Year dawns. The old year ends on April 13th and the new year begins on April 14th. These dates are chosen because of their astrological meaning. Apparently, the sun moves from the house of Pisces to the house of Aries. To Sri Lankans, astrology is all but holy. That is one of the reasons why each year, there are different auspicious times. One year, the New Year might dawn in the evening, the next year in the morning or around noon. There are also auspicious times for special rituals.

  • There’s a time on the last day of the old year where any preparation and work must be finished. For a span of roughly 10 hours, you’re supposed to do no work (including housework) and to spend time with your family, with religious practices or just relaxing.
  •  There’s a time after the new year has begun where you turn on your oven for the first time. As some Sri Lankans still use a wood-and-fire stove and almost all others use gas for cooking, it is customary to create a small fire and place a pot of milk on it. The milk should boil over at roughly the given time, which brings a bountiful year.
  •  There’s a time when you can have your first meal after the 10-hour period.
  • Usually 2 to 4 days after the New Year, there’s a day and time to start work again.

In combination with these times, there are auspicious colours to wear on each of the occasions, and there is a direction (for example south, or north-east) to look at when you perform a task like cooking the first meal or going to office for the first time.

Sinhalese New Year

Subha aluth avuruddak wewa

 Wishing you a happy New Year

* * * *

During the days prior to the Sinhalese New Year, we perform our version of ‘spring cleaning’. The whole house is swept and dusted and washed and rearranged. Whoever can afford it, gets the building colour washed and the furniture repaired and polished. From the curtains to every item in the cupboards, everything is taken out and cleaned, and old and broken things are discarded.

Not only the houses have to be at their shiniest and newest, but the people, too. It is customary to gift family members and friends clothes, as well as buy yourself new ones. If the grown-up children live in the parent’s house—which happens more often than not—they buy new household items or some decoration.
Another reason for the date the New Year falls on is the end of the harvesting season for paddy (rice) and other major agricultural crops. So, in the villages, there are many rites and rituals around donating the first rice and how to cook it.

Of course, the New Year wouldn’t be a celebration if special food weren’t involved. There are several traditional sweets—many made from rice flour, palm syrup (treacle) and mung bean flour—that the whole family comes together to make. On the dawning of the new day, you eat these along with milk rice and a spicy onion-and-chili paste.

Sri Lanka
Games—climbing a wooden pole smeared with grease, having a pillow fight while balancing on a beam, trying to hit a hanging clay pot with your eyes closed, play drums—are an essential part of the New Year celebrations. Religion also plays an important role. On the first day of the new year, you go to the temple and offer flowers as well as prayers. The head of the family blesses everyone else.

Basically, it’s all about strengthening family bonds, taking a breather from the hectic everyday troubles, readying yourself and your house for the next 12 months to come – and having a good time.

* * * *

About Devika

devikaAlmost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a German web content writer and as a translator. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing. Her debut romance novel, When I See Your Face, is now available at Amazon. 

 

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Thoughts about Fall by Krista Ames

From Christina: So pleased to share another bit of romance from another lover of autumn. Please welcome Krista Ames to Time for Love.

Thoughts about Fall

Who doesn’t love fall ?

It’s literally my favorite season and I don’t think I always knew that.  I grew up in Indiana where we definitely had four seasons and once I became an adult, I always hated to see snow come and the need to drive in it, especially after I had kids.  Once my third child was born, we made the life altering decision to move to Florida and warm weather all the time was quite a change from what I’d been used to.  I think after a year there I finally figured out what I was missing.  There are no season changes.  There was only hot and hotter.  The fall came and went with no changing of the colors and even at Christmas there was no snow.  How weird do you think it was to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt at Christmas?  The longer we stayed there, the more I missed fall and the cooler, sweatshirt and jeans weather.

Finally after three-ish years and some tough personal issues, during the fall season I made the decision to move my children and myself back to Indiana.  It was a beautiful drive and good to be getting things back to normal.  Then I met my second husband and was so thrilled that he loved fall as much as me.  So much so that we even got married in the middle of September, outside at a state park and planned a fall themed wedding.  Every year now we make a point of taking a color tour of the north between mid-September and mid-October.

Now, we live in Northern Lower Michigan and the leaves have changed colors and mostly fallen from the trees.  I took advantage when I could and snapped tons of pictures of my kids with the fall theme.

Krista

The weather was a cool 40 degrees over the weekend as we took the kids to a fall festival.  I’m not looking forward to fall ending because the temperature will continue to drop and that white stuff will be here before I want it to.  Once it arrives, I’ll be asking myself as I do every year now, why is it that I moved from Florida?

Yep that’s right, because fall is my favorite season and it’s worth it just to have a few months of that cool and beautiful weather.  If there was a place in the states where the weather was 60ish degree sweatshirt weather year round, trust me, I’d be there !!

So how do you feel about fall?

Author Bio: Krista is a full time, stay-at-home mom. She pursues her writing career when she’s not chasing kids, cooking, or doing laundry.  Watch for her upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, titled “Second Nature”. It’s Book One in the “Second Series”. Krista can be found online at Passion for Romance. She loves to hear from readers. You can also contact her by email, krista@kristaames.com.

It’s That Time of Year by Ashley Nemer

From Christina: I want to thank Ashley for sharing her thoughts about autumn. She grew up not far from where I live, so many of my fall memories are very much the same.  I’ve jumped in the leaves, skipped rocks over the water, and felt that same exhilarating coolness in the air. And Ashley, I have photos of a few parks in Kansas where I’ve spent time with my family. I’m always happy to share, so whenever you want to look back on your childhood days, maybe between the two of us we can find that park your remember.

It’s That Time of Year

by Ashley Nemer

It’s that time of year, when the leaves start changing colors slowly and then begin to fall to the ground. I’m sure we all have those fun memories of fall and early winter when it’s the perfect temperature to play out in the afternoon sun as a child. Raking up the leaves and putting them into a large pile and diving into it.

For me, this season always meant new beginnings. When I was in grade school I lived in Kansas. The seasons were vastly different than those I experience in Houston, Texas. For one, there are actual distinct seasons that last longer than a week. That’s probably the only thing consistent in Texas during fall / winter / spring – if you have issues with the weather, don’t worry, it will change next week.

But in Kansas, fall represented school starting, weather cooling and fun beginning. My mom’s house was on this huge acre of land. Okay okay, it was huge to a nine year old, whether or not it was actually “huge” I suppose is debatable. Anyway…My brother and I were tasks with raking the leaves. As you can imagine that was a huge job for two “youngins”. Except, we always had a blast. We would spend all day outside raking leaves and diving into the piles of them.

Colorful Autumn Leaves

Colorful Autumn Leaves – Drawing by Christina

Until that one pile had a snake. Shivers – that had to be one of the worst times. I remember I was riding my bike, gaining momentum so when I jumped off of it I would fly into the pile. Thank God I looked down before I jumped and saw that deadly snake waiting for me. (What a nine year old girl thinks is deadly.) In all reality it was probably a little garden snake but no, to a young Ashley it was as deadly as a python and as ugly as a rattler. I rode my bike back to the front door screaming. I grabbed my brother and told him he was never allowed to go outside again.

Looking back – I was definitely one for the theatrics I think. But my memories aren’t all snake-infested. I remember when we lived in Kansas City; we had our two dogs Louise and Sammy. They were sisters, beagles. We all went to a park in the fall. The leaves had just started to fall and the weather had taken a turn for the colder side. We were playing Frisby and catch. Frisby for the humans, catch for the dogs. I learned how to skip rocks on a lake that day. Maybe I should say I attempted to learn because I doubt I would have any success doing that now.

I remember my mom. Her hair flowing in the wind. The sun-kissed blonde strands, her smile, the way she laughed when I pushed my brother into the lake. Yeah, autumn always meant changes for me and that was good. I miss the actual seasons of the year. Houston has two, Hot and Very Hot!

Maybe one day I’ll make it back to Kansas and I can find that park again. Or maybe I’ll just look at photos and smile, remembering times when things were less complicated and life was simply there for enjoying.

A Gift to the Senses by Rose Anderson

From Christina: I loved reading Rose’s post about autumn in the midwest. Yep, she’s got it right, and for the record, we’ve already turned our furnace on once…just checking, you know. Enjoy Rose’s reflections!

A Gift to the Senses

by Rose Anderson


I’m enjoying an early autumn day in the Midwest. It’s one of those poetic lofty-cloud big-sky days that can only be described as blue with a capital B. How pretty.

It’s chilly today, and I love it. We play a game in my house called Can You Stand It? The idea is to see how long you can go before you turn the furnace on for the winter. Most years I can get to a week past Thanksgiving unless the beaks of my cockatiels have icicles hanging from them. No need to stress my little buddies. There are other ways to keep warm – pots of soup, baking anything from meatloaf to pie, or filling the house with warm friends.

My hair has taken on its autumn pelage and gone darker. Just the other day I heard the first of many, “Hey, your hair is darker all of a sudden”.  And come spring, it’ll be, “Hey, did you dye your hair? It’s lighter.” Nope. The changing color of my hair is as predictable as the seasons. People have mentioned this every year for my entire life. I don’t know if this phenomenon is particular to me or a natural redhead thing. Maybe it’s a trick of light from the angle of the sun, or just a peculiar trait for a peculiar person.

Or… maybe changing color is just my way of enjoying autumn. This is my favorite time of year, after all.

I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and the frosty crispness in the air. I especially love the color everywhere. With the right conditions of cold nights and sunny days, the trees in my neck of the woods don their autumn finery. The other morning, it was cold enough to see my breath when I was out walking the dogs. I knew the colors would pop within days. And they did, not all, just the first in the autumn palette.

Photo by Christina

Photo by Christina

Soon I’ll have butter yellow cherry and hickory trees in my yard. Today the ashes and hazel bushes look like they’ve been set ablaze. Even the oaks are turning. Mostly the bur oaks turn brown, but another round of frosty nights might turn their leaves a dark reddish-purple. I just love that. I’ve only seen it a handful of times in all the years we’ve lived here, but when that occurs, oh my.

The real feast for the eyes dot the streets in the nearby small town neighborhoods. The sugar maples are just starting to turn those vibrant reds, blinding yellows, and glowing oranges. Some years, these trees are so amazing, they’ll take your breath away.

Even if the colors aren’t at their best, there are other things that make me smile. I love the V’s of geese flying overhead. Sometimes they fly so low you can hear that Styrofoam-like sound of their wings moving the wind.

And then there’s the smell of burning leaves wafting my way from the small towns around me. Inexplicably driven to rake the moment the leaves fall, the residents pile and burn them. For me, this ritual sends spectral memories puffing into the air. As a kid growing up in Chicago, these smoldering piles were such fun. We’d jump into the billowing clouds and some of my friends pretended to be angels or ghosts. As a fan of old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, I’d pretend I was on the moors with the hound. Yes, I was an odd child with an active imagination.

These distinctions from season to season are a gift to the senses and I love them all in their turn. There are things I can count on when the seasons change. In the late spring and early summer when first the lilacs, and then the peonies, irises, and roses bloom, I can count on fierce storms and torrential rains to beat them to smithereens the instant they’re at their loveliest. In autumn, the very week all the trees deck out in fabulous color, a wind storm will strip the branches bare. In the winter when the snow comes deep and still, I can count on my dogs to abandon their favorite business spot in the yard and crisscross the blanket of snowy beauty with tracks that leave it looking like Grand Central Station.

The fleetingness of it all makes you appreciate these things more, I think. It’s like a sweet spring-only Vidalia onion, summer bing cherries, or a Christmas tangerine. No, I take that back. This small window to appreciate the seasons’ beauty is more like a Marshmallow Peep or a Taffy Apple. Get ‘em while they’re here for they will soon be gone.

About Rose:  

Rose Anderson is multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and learning interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper mid-west.  

Her books are available at Amazon. You can also follow Rose at her blog, Calliope’s Writing Tablet. You’ll find her in many places across the web. Wave when you see her!